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Second wave of swine flu more lethal: experts

Just as people heaved a sigh of relief at the drop in swine flu – renamed influenza A H1N1 — cases and deaths in Mexico, the WHO warned a second wave of infection can be more lethal than the current one, which has killed 26 people and infected 985 in 20 countries, reports Sanchita Sharma.

delhi Updated: May 05, 2009 01:22 IST
Sanchita Sharma

Just as people heaved a sigh of relief at the drop in swine flu – renamed influenza A H1N1 — cases and deaths in Mexico, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned a second wave of infection can be more lethal than the current one, which has killed 26 people and infected 985 in 20 countries.

“It would be the biggest of all outbreaks the world has faced in the 21st century… I’d rather over-prepare than not prepare,” WHO director general Margaret Chan told Financial Times on Monday.

No cases have been reported in India. Mexico has reported 590 cases and 25 deaths.

In India, all 12 people – nine from Delhi, two from Hyderabad and one from Mumbai – were found to be negative. Three passengers – two from Delhi, one from Hyderabad — with symptoms were tested on Monday. The results will be out on Tuesday morning.

“One passenger is at the quarantine center at IGI Airport and second at RML Hospital. From Tuesday, passengers with symptoms will be quarantined at the airport and only those who test positive for influenza A (H1N1) and need treatment will be sent to RML,” said Vineet Chawdhry, joint secretary, ministry of health.

Till Monday afternoon, India has screened 41,498 passengers, 8,353 passengers of them from affected countries.

On Monday, Cabinet Secretary KM Chandersekhar reviewed preparedness with chief secretaries of 17 states via video-conference. Technical aspects such as surveillance at airports, ports and community; laboratory support; sample collection and transportation, clinical management and risk communication were also reviewed by the Director General of Health Services, Dr RK Srivastava.